Democrat Hopefuls Court Gay Voters

Eyeing the influential gay votes in next year's presidential elections, Democrat White House hopefuls have voiced strong support for equal rights and government benefits for the homosexual community, reported the Los Angeles Times on Friday.

Democrat Hopefuls Court Gay Voters
Eyeing the influential gay votes in next year's presidential elections, Democrat White House hopefuls have voiced strong support for equal rights and government benefits for the homosexual community, reported the Los Angeles Times on Friday, August 10.

"All these candidates want the support of the gay community," said Bill Carrick, a longtime Democratic political consultant.

"Politically, they are pretty generous with fundraising and very active."

Six Democrat runners gathered late Thursday, August 9, in an unprecedented televised campaign forum directed at gay voters.

They were quizzed individually on gay and lesbian issues.

"It is important for candidates to show up and make their views known, even if they can't distinguish themselves," said Carrick.

Gay voters are estimated to account for 4 to 6 percent of the US electorate and traditionally vote Democrat.

In 2004, defeated Democratic nominee Senator John Kerry won 77 percent of the gay and lesbian vote, compared to 23 percent for incumbent President George W. Bush.

"Personal"

The Democratic candidates called for a federal ban on anti-gay job discrimination, repealing a policy barring gays from serving openly in the military and back civil unions for same-sex couples.

Front-runner Hilary Clinton vowed to be a president who would fight on behalf of the gay and lesbian community, according to The New York Times.

"I prefer to think of it as being very positive about civil unions," said Clinton who enjoys support from many gay Democrats.

The White House aspirant vowed to end "leadership that has politicized the most personal and intimate issues."

Clinton, however, defended her opposition to the same-sex marriage as a "personal position".

"It's a personal position ... we have made it clear in our country that we believe in equality. How we get to full equality is the debate we're having now," she told the televised debate.

Front challenger Barack Obama called at the same debate for forming gay civil unions as an alternative to the same-sex marriage.

"From my perspective, as I've proposed it, it (civil union) wouldn't be a lesser thing," he said.

"Semantics may be important to some but what I'm interested in is making sure that those legal rights are available to all."

Thursday's event highlighted the fault line between Democrats who largely back broader gay and lesbian rights, and Republicans, who prefer to seek support of traditional family values conservatives.

Republicans spurned invitations for a similar gay event.

Gay relationship and marriage are totally prohibited in all divine religions. A handful of American churches, however, recognized homosexuals.

Edwards Comfortable

At the debate, Presidential hopeful John Edwards, a former Senator, who is known for his staunch opposition to same-sex marriages, denied that he once said he was not "comfortable around those people."

"I'm perfectly comfortable," he said when asked if he felt O.K. in sitting with gay people during the event.

Edwards backed down on his past remarks that his religious views had influenced his opposition to same-sex marriage.

"I shouldn't have said that," he said.

"We have seen a president in the last six-plus years who has tried to impose his faith on the American people. I will not try to impose my faith belief on the American people," he said referring to Bush.

Bush's religion-toned speeches and policies have been under fire from mainstream politicians and political notables.

Former president and Nobel Prize winner Jimmy Carter accused Bush of eliminating the line between church and state.

Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright had blasted Bush for invoking religion into his foreign policies.

Analysts agree that Bush won his second term in office by playing the card of religion and terror scars.

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Last Mod: 11 Ağustos 2007, 09:35
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